I've tasted one too many batches of vegetarian chili that leave me wanting the "real thing"--chili powder, meat, and beans. It may be that I've stopped eating meat except on holidays (for ethical, financial, and environmental impact reasons), but I think I actually prefer the following recipe to the ground muscle version.
I made this up last year, and have been refining it for a while. The refined version has been pretty popular among flatmates and dinner guests, so I thought I'd spread the love.
Have a more descriptive name? Suggestions are welcome.
1 can corn
2 big cans (800mL) diced tomatoes
2 medium cans (500mL) red kidney beans
4 stalks celery
3 heaping tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 big piece of ginger root
1 big onion
5 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
10 oz spinach
In a large pot, heat corn, tomatoes, beans (drain 'em) and chopped celery. Heat until it starts to bubble, reduce to medium heat. Add cumin, mustard, curry, salt and cayenne. Stir frequently in order to keep the thicker part from settling on the bottom of the pot and burning.
In a small pot, heat 1/4 cups olive oil (a bit more if the pot has a large base). Peel the ginger with a spoon or the back of a knife, chop finely and add to the oil, which should be hot. While the ginger sautées, chop up the onion, add it to the oil, and then chop the garlic and add it as well. Stir occasionally, sautée the whole mix until it starts to brown. Add it to the main pot.
Wash cilantro, chop thoroughly, add to the mix. Cook for an additional 30 minutes; ideally, let it cook over low heat for an additional hour or two, to let the flavours blend. Serve over rice, with garlic bread, or both.